Argentinian wine: world-class wine players

09 August, 2018

“At Gauchezco, our Malbec wines lead our growth, however we have seen great interest in our Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and our recently released flagship wine Gran Corte – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.”

Sophie Jump, director of Jump Start, a UK-based Argentinian wine specialist, gives a more dispassionate, independent, stance. She says: “From a small base, in terms of overall market shares, Argentina is growing slowly but steadily both in terms of sales and brand recognition. Because it doesn’t have any internationally big brands to reach the mass market and because it cannot play competitively in the entry-level category, I don’t think it will ever reach ‘big five’ status.

“This fact has served to reinforce its USP as it has developed a strong reputation for quality and value for money. In the £12-£25 segment it is one of the most competitive players.

“Another USP is the diversity of production. If you line up 100 Malbecs they will each have their own personality while remaining true to the characteristics of the variety. The same cannot be said, for example, of Chilean Carmenère. This is due to the increasing attention being paid to the specifics of the many different ‘terroirs’ Argentina has to offer,” claims Jump.

After two difficult vintages, Catena’s Dr Laura Catena, fourth generation family vintner, assesses: “We are pleased to see that the typical Año Mendocino is back. We call the 2018 vintage El Mendocino (the Mendoza year). After a small, cool vintage 2017, which we call El Año Bordelés (the Bordeaux year) and a small, very cool and rainy year in 2016, El Año Bourguignon (the Burgundian year), we finally got a vintage that is classically Mendozan: dry, cool, sunny and with moderate yields in every region from the lowest to the highest altitudes. This is extremely positive for growers, producers and winemakers.”

CHALLENGES

Morton-Small says: “Argentina has faced internal political and economic challenges which have driven wineries away from the lowest price category and forced producers, successfully, to focus on premium quality wines which over-deliver and have consumer appeal.”

Crozier says: “The main challenge in the future will be to show the potential of Argentina and its high quality in other varieties – without neglecting Malbec as our emblem – such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, while showing more indigenous varieties, Torrontes and Bonarda being unique and important to the diversity and history of Argentina.”

Ortiz says: “The biggest challenge is to increase the share in a world where consumption is falling with growth and innovation in other varieties, not just Malbec, producing unique blends, not the classic Bordeaux. We introduced a blend called Bicentenario, made with the most significant grapes from Argentina: 60% Malbec, 30% Bonarda and 10% Torrontes. It has balance and is fresh with lots of complexity.

Says Bloise: “The challenge for the industry is to articulate a value proposition that includes Malbec, but not only, and highlights different origins that can offer unique characters and styles, reflecting its wide range of soils, altitudes and latitudes capable of creating distinct wines in different price points, such as Gualtallary, Paraje Altamira, Vistalba.”





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